Community Acupuncture Project
BAE/Greenhouse Community Acupuncture Project
445 Grand Street (at Keap St.)
Mon/Wed 10:30am–1pm & 4–7pm , Sun 12–7pm
By Danielle Beurteaux
Photograph by Ashley Corbin-Teich
James H. Bae is a licensed acupuncturist who runs the Community Acupuncture Project at Greenhouse Holistic. Bae, 32, warm and friendly, pads around the room in his sock feet, welcoming newcomers while moving between clients, asking questions and inserting and removing needles. He explains that the community style practice is modeled on the healthcare approach in China, with a large, open room and multiple patients being treated simultaneously. The space at Greenhouse is a bright and airy, loft-like space, with a combination of reclining chairs and tables. Gentle music plays, and for some treatments, and for shy people, there are tables behind screens for privacy. Bae’s idea was to offer acupuncture on a sliding-scale price basis, to make the treatment accessible to those who can’t afford private sessions, which Bae also provides. The suggested fee is $15 to $40 per session.
While Greenhouse Holistic has been a mainstay on the local yoga scene since it opened in 2001, Bae just kicked off the Community Acupuncture Project on Sundays in September of last year. It’s proven to be so popular (mostly through word-of-mouth), that he’s expanded the service, adding Mondays and Wednesdays. The clientele ranges in age from early 20s to 50s and while they come with different levels of experience with acupuncture—or none at all—one thing they have in common is the willingness to have needles stuck in various parts of their bodies.
Michelle Greenhouse, is thrilled with Bae’s service, and sees it as a perfect fit for the studio’s philosophy of providing holistic health services. She also points out that many people in the community lack health insurance, so this is a much-needed service. “A lot of people are open to more alternative treatments,” she says, “they’re thinking proactive health care.”
For those with a needle phobia, Bae says that he’s helped patients get over their fear. “I’ve had people who are completely afraid of needles—true phobia—and I’ve actually, within minutes, been able to talk them through the experience of acupuncture needling.”
Bae treats everything from injuries to lethargy to fertility. “Some ailments can be treated in a few sessions and some take longer”, says Bae, “but it’s important to be consistent—weekly or semiweekly visits are normal”.
Bae, a first generation Korean-American, grew up with traditional alternative therapies and western medicine and never viewed one as excluding the other, and his appreciation of both forms of medicine has deepened as he continued his training. “Now I understand more how they complement each other,” says Bae. “And how one route may serve us better in specific circumstances.”
“People are willing to explore approaches to health that offer an alternative and that also vies with core beliefs,” he says, “and hopefully, they find it a warm, friendly community experience as well.”
Bae received his training at the Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz and San Jose, California, and then continued his studies at the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in Chelsea. Late last year, he completed a yearlong internship at Beth Israel Hospital’s Continuum Center for Health and Healing as a member of their first group of Acupuncture Fellows, where licensed acupuncturists work with patients in tandem with hospital care. He also works out of a wellness clinic in Park Slope and a practice in Chelsea.